iOS 11: How to improve iPhone battery life

Since iOS 11 has been available for over a week, many users are now running Apple’s latest mobile OS. While there are lots of great new features, one downside many users are experiencing is decreased battery life. Let’s take a look at the best ways to improve battery life on your iPhone.

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In a recent 9to5Mac poll, 70% of readers reported that battery life was worse with iOS 11. In the same article, we noted that security research firm Wandera shared data that it took iOS 11 an average of 96 minutes to drain iPhones and iPads completely, while iOS 10 took 240 minutes.

While more that a 50% drop in battery life sounds terrible, there are a few things to keep in mind (if you want to get right to tweaking your iPhone for better battery life, head below).

The data from Wandera was collected from 50,000 moderate to heavy users, for 3 days following iOS 11’s launch. First, the sample size is great, but these are relatively demanding iOS users.

Second, the data coming from the 3 days after iOS 11 availability makes a difference. Much like most of us early adopters, the Wandera sample size was likely using their devices more heavily than normal, restoring from backups, checking out new features (ARKit, screen recording, etc.), downloading new apps etc. After a week or two I would imagine Wandera would find improved battery life for iOS 11 if it collected the same data.

However, even if iOS 11 battery performance doesn’t remain as bad as this past week may have indicated (hopefully today’s 11.0.1 update will help), it may remain worse than iOS 10 to some degree. So, let’s dive in to what you can do to get the most out of your battery with iOS 11.

iOS 11: How to improve battery life

1. Understand your battery usage

Head to SettingsBattery to check out the details of your battery usage. Last 24 Hours will be the default for showing what apps are using the most energy. Tapping the clock icon on the right hand side gives you a detailed breakdown of how much time was spent on screen and in the background for each app.

Also take a look at battery life suggestions just above battery usage. This will give you quick, actionable ways to reduce battery drain. Now you’re in a better position to be more efficient with usage, along with having an idea of more settings to adjust as we keep going here.

2. Low Power Mode

Low Power Mode isn’t new in iOS 11, but it’s a really useful feature to stretch your battery life when needed. The feature works by suspending mail fetch, background app refresh, auto downloads, and more. This isn’t a ‘use every day’ type of feature (hopefully), but is handy in a pinch.

You can turn on Low Power mode under SettingsBattery. However, it’s really useful to have quick access to Low Power Mode by adding it to iOS 11’s redesigned Control Center. Navigate to Settings → Control Center → Customize Controls, then tap the   sign next to Low Power Mode.

3. Adjust Auto-lock and Screen Brightness

If you notice Home & Lock Screen usage on your battery usage higher than you’d expect, double-check that setting. If you can tolerate it, 30 seconds will help you preserve the most battery life. Especially with most of Apple’s iPhones supporting raise to wake, 30 seconds is usually worth it.

Navigate to Settings → Display & Brightness → Auto-Lock.

Lowering your screen brightness will also help with battery life, but this will likely come down to personal preference.

4. Background App Refresh

Low Power Mode turns off background app refresh across the board, but you can customize which apps use this feature for a more convenient experience as well as improved battery life. Head to Settings → General → Background App Refresh.

You can also opt to only use background app refresh on Wi-Fi in addition to Wi-Fi and Cellular or turning the feature off. However, most users will find leaving Wi-Fi and Cellular on while customizing which apps are used for background app refresh to be the best fit.

5. Location Services

Taking a look at your location services settings is another way to be more efficient with battery life (and cellular data usage). Head to Settings → Privacy → Location Services to update the privileges for your apps.

Watch out for any apps that ask to Always use your location and switch to While Using or Never.

6. Push and Fetch

Taking a look at your push and fetch settings is also worthwhile. Navigate to Settings → Accounts & Passwords → Fetch New Data. One possible approach is to leave your primary account(s) as push to receive new mail asap, and turn secondary/non-crticial accounts to fetch every 30 minutes or hour.

After fine tuning these settings, you should find yourself with improved battery life with iOS 11. While not always ideal for everyday use, battery cases and portable power banks can also prove useful for the times you’ve run out of juice unexpectedly. With so many affordable options, keeping one in the car or in your backpack or purse can be a lifesaver.

Also, don’t forget that although wireless charging is a headline feature of the iPhone 8 and iPhone X, fast charging is also supported.

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